According to the Columbus police department, a 15-year-old male has been arrested in connection with recent bomb threats made toward New Hope Middle School and Columbus High School.
Police say another suspect has been identified who was making similar threats to West Lowndes High School.
Friday morning, around 8:08 a.m., the first of three calls threatening an explosion came into the schools. The first threat was at Columbus High School when the caller said there was a bomb in the building that was about to explode. The school was evacuated.
At approximately 8:15 am, a second call was placed to New Hope Middle School stating similar claims. The third call to West Lowndes High was made around 9:15 am. Both Lowndes County Schools evacuated their students as a precaution.
Columbus PD along with Columbus Municipal School Police and a Bomb dog team from Columbus Air Force Base conducted a sweep of Columbus High looking for any signs of an explosive device.
Once the school was cleared, students were able to go back to class.
Meanwhile, at the Lowndes County Schools, Lowndes County Sheriff Deputies also conducted a search of New Hope Middle School and West Lowndes High School utilizing the county’s bomb dog and also assisted by a second team from the Columbus Air Force Base. No devices were found in either school and once everything was all clear, students returned back to class.
Under Mississippi law, it is unlawful for any person to make false reports of a bomb threat. Any person convicted of this violation shall be fined not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00) or shall be committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections for not more than ten (10) years, or both. (Ms. Code 97-37-21)
Investigators from Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and Columbus Police Department along with Analysts from the Ms. Department of Homeland Security were able to figure out the suspects and addresses involved in placing the threats at the schools.
They figured out that calls were coming from a house at 107 Florence Street in Columbus.
When investigators responded to the house, they searched it and seized a large quantity of marijuana. Three adults were arrested at the house in connection to the drugs found.
51-year-old Shawn Curtis Young, 50-year-old Nicole Ozella Young, and 30-year-old Xzaver Deshun Morris were all charged with trafficking Marijuana.
All three suspects remain at the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center awaiting an initial appearance. While interviewing witnesses at the residence, investigators learned the name of a 15-year-old male suspect and later contacted his guardians who brought him to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.
The 15-year-old confessed to placing the call to New Hope Middle School and he was then taken to the Lowndes County Juvenile Detention Center where he will be charged with “false reporting of an explosive device and or a weapon of mass destruction”. Investigators from the Columbus Police Department have also charged the 15-year-old with placing the call to Columbus High School.
Another suspect has been identified and will be questioned as to their involvement in this case as this investigation continues.
Sheriff Eddie Hawkins said,
“The safety of our schools is a top priority and Law Enforcement take these types of threats very serious. We will work with our local, state and federal partners to vigorously investigate and prosecute those responsible and hold them accountable for their actions.”This is a perfect example of the importance of law enforcement partnerships. By partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, we were able to secure the safety of our children. By combining our resources, we were able track down and apprehend those responsible for these illegal threats. Now we will hold them accountable for their actions.”